Lying to my late father in order to extract more money than usual was a necessary act because I needed the money to sustain myself in school. Deliberately misdirecting a mad man from his victim is a necessary act, for that was the only way to save that victim’s life. If there are personal, national and global excuses for lying which have positively lasting effects in the future, they are most welcome. Besides, there were some liars in the genealogy of Jesus Christ.
Funny enough, in my concept of death, I mentioned that pretence of any sort never lasts. Even though that statement is very correct, there are “necessary lies” which need to be uttered. Unless there is a very good reason to lie, pretence is an act of dishonour. “O O O O O yes, I’m the great pretender, oooh oooh.” Remember that legendary song?
Pretending is a dishonourable act when it is very blatant. Pretenders exist when one suddenly becomes successful. Matthew 10:36 says that a man’s worst enemies are the members of his own family. What happens when an employee discovers that his/her employer secretly despised him/her from the first day of employment? This discovery definitely leaves that person totally incapacitated.
Pretence is the genesis of man’s inhumanity to man. Leo Tolstoy, a legendary Russian philosopher, said: “I sit on a man’s back, choking him and making him carry me, and yet assure myself and others that I am very sorry for him and wish him to ease his lot by all possible means – except by getting off his back.” It is very ironic that the personalities preaching love for mankind are the very persons tearing mankind apart. Is there any basis for lying to the generations yet to come? None whatsoever!! It is very impossible to find one great person who has not lied in his or her entire life.
As I arrived Nigeria by flight in 1992, I was very unsure about my future here back in my own country. There was an irredeemably escalated level of insecurity everywhere I went. It was so easy to live a life of pretence, and even enjoy doing it, rendering the inner conscience dead. This opportunistic Igbo proverb reigned: “If you see an udala fruit beside a mound of shit, pluck a leaf and cover the shit and take your fruit.” I became a living dead, because I could not live a legitimate life in my own country, a country full of lies, annoying, frustrating, blatant lies. Here is another song: “And I’m dying inside, and nobody knows it but me.”
Very oftentimes we hear statements like: “So so fake fake products I go dey buy, so so fake fake people I go dey meet. Na wetin be all dis?” and “Na grammar I go chop? Na honour I go eat?” Even lying is a stock in trade in “romantic” relationships. Usually, it is the man that does all the lying and the woman does all the believing. When the lies are uncovered, a woman’s heart gets broken, the goes back to apologise, is forgiven and all is well again, only to start all over again.
Nigeria is a country where goodness and badness mix and live in artificial peace. As the legendary Fela would say, we are suffering and smiling at the same time. Also keep in mind this saying: “Do as I say, but don’t do as I do.” This is the short form of a biblical saying.
In the act of pretending for a necessary cause, one has to remember that what is good for one is definitely not good for the other. One cannot satisfy the entire humanity due to individual differences, but the natural truth that governs life must be sought for and pursued. Great pretenders exist in any single person, including Yours Truly. There may be liars and pretenders in the genealogy of Jesus Christ, but this did not make Jesus Christ a liar or a pretender. The natural law stands tall for all times, all regimes and all seasons, a law that lying and pretending can never eradicate.